Mark Cuban thinks TikTok — or, at least, its style of short-form video – is here to stay, and for a potentially unexpected reason.
On a recent episode of "The Colin Cowherd Podcast," hosted by Fox Sports anchor Colin Cowherd, Cuban called TikTok "the future of sports media," noting that the app's AI-fueled algorithms tailor its suggestions to both short attention spans and users' personal interests.
"TikTok uses AI to present the things you're interested in," the billionaire investor and Dallas Mavericks owner said. "If my son and I like Luka Doncic's dunks, NBA stuff and dogs, [we're] going to get a stream of that ... That's the future of sports media, because we're not going to get our 16-year-old or 12-year-old or 15-year-old to sit for a full game."
Cuban cited baseball, a sport with relatively large amounts of dead time between plays, as a prime example. He proposed that Major League Baseball create its own TikTok version of "RedZone for MLB" — referencing the NFL Network's "NFL RedZone" channel — where fans could, in real time, watch only the at-bats that most directly affected their favorite teams or players.
MLB's TikTok account does has 5 million followers, making it relatively popular. But last year's season set a new record for longest average nine-inning game: 3 hours, 10 minutes and 7 seconds, according to the commissioner's office.
In recent years, the league has expanded its focus on "pace of play," testing multiple initiatives intended to speed games up. None of those initiatives have included a TikTok-related element — at least, not yet.
For Cuban, the social media platform's potential impact also extends beyond the realm of sports. All companies should learn from TikTok's use of AI to appeal to its customer base, he said — just like how businesses had to adapt to the everyday use of computers decades ago.
"There's two types of companies: those who are great at AI and everybody else," Cuban said. "And you don't necessarily have to be great at AI to start a company, but at some point, you're going to have to understand it. It's just like the early days of PCs. You didn't have to be good at PCs, but it helped [with] networks, then the internet, then mobile."
Cuban's own TikTok account, which largely posts videos with his children or content related to ABC's "Shark Tank," has amassed nearly 660,000 followers. Cuban said he initially created the account to see what his kids were watching, but now uses the app somewhat absent-mindedly because it's "too easy to use."
"Now, I use TikTok like if I'm running or walking or biking," he said. "I'm on TikTok just going through the 30-second clips, and the time goes by faster, and it allows me to understand my kids better."